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J&K: Protest Held to Demand Withdrawal of Sedition Charges Against Kashmiri Students

NC protests in Srinagar; PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti writes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging his intervention in the case of three students in Agra.
J&K: Protest Held to Demand Withdrawal of Sedition Charges Against Kashmiri Students

Image Courtesy: Kashmir Life

Srinagar: National Conference’s (NC) women’s wing on Monday held a protest in Srinagar close to their Nawa e Subh headquarter demanding justice for the students who have been recently charged under various cases for their alleged support to Pakistan cricket team during the ongoing World T20 tournament. 

Over a dozen women party workers held a demonstration against the government for slapping serious charges like sedition against the students, including in the state of Uttar Pradesh, where three Kashmiri students were recently detained and accused for supporting the Pakistan cricket team. 

The demonstrators carried placards and raised slogans like ‘Roll back FIRs against students’ and ‘Release Kashmiri students’. They demanded that all the cases against these students should be withdrawn. Former Member of Legislative Assembly Shamima Firdous accused UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath of using excessive force against the students.

“A sedition case has been filed against three students in Agra. The chief minister there has said in a tweet that they will be charged for sedition. I want to ask Mr Yogi whether he has no knowledge of sedition or sedition cases. Those who misuse law in favour of BJP should die of shame,” Shamima said.

The NC women’s wing president quoted a former judge of the Supreme Court Justice (Retd) Deepak Gupta, who in a recent interview with journalist Karan Thapar, said celebrating Pakistan's cricket victory over India could not be termed as sedition. 

“Should the British government also charge Indians for raising Indian tricolour in England? Indians should feel ashamed for using law in this way,” she added.

The demonstrators urged the Lt. Governor’s government to intervene in this case and save these students and warned of a region-wide stir to support them. 

“They first ask us to send our children for education outside Kashmir but there is no security for them. The management of college has already said these students have not raised Pakistani flag or slogan, they are innocent,” another protester, Ayesha, said. 

Following the recent defeat of the Indian cricket team against Pakistan in the ongoing world T20 championship, Kashmiri students studying in various colleges in states like UP and Punjab alleged they were attacked by other students. In Agra’s Raja Balwant Singh College, three Kashmiri students were arrested, assaulted and charged of sedition for their alleged support to Pak cricket team following which a tweet from CM Yogi indicated that they may be charged with sedition, something that Kashmir based parties have flagged as an over-reaction. 

The college administration has refuted allegations of Right-wing groups that the students raised slogans in favour of Pakistan but suspended the three Kashmiris for posting social media updates highlighting the winning team’s victory. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership has since called for harsh measures to be implemented against Kashmiris. 

A former legislator of the BJP party in Jammu, Vikram Singh Randhawa , even suggested that the citizenship  of these students should be revoked and they should be “sent to Pakistan.” In a now deleted post, the BJP had also allegedly called for “skinning alive” Kashmiri students.

Reacting strongly, People’s Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti tweeted: “No action taken against an ex BJP MLA who calls for genocide of Kashmiris and to skin them alive. But J&K students are charged with sedition for merely cheering the winning team. India is surely the mother of all democracies.”

Mehbooba even wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging his intervention in the case of three students. “Wisdom deems its prudent for this government to engage with them, understand their aspirations and goals. I fervently request you to intervene so that the future of these young bright minds is not destroyed,” the PDP leader said.

The J&K police has also filed two FIRs against the students of two medical colleges in Kashmir for their alleged role in cheering for Pakistan’s cricket team, purported videos of which were shared widely on social media. Meanwhile, the administration at one of the medical colleges has said, following an internal inquiry, that their students were not involved in the incident.

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